The next option to explore is long-time New York Rangers defenseman, Marc Staal. Blueshirts fans have seen the quality of his play decline for a few seasons. To be brutally honest, he hasn’t been the same player he was since taking a puck to the eye from a Kimmo Timonen slapshot at the Garden on March 5, 2013. It has become crystal clear that the former All-Star has reached the twilight years of his career.
Staal has been a decent option for the Blueshirts to dress out this year. But his lack of speed is glaring, in what has become a much faster-paced league than only a few years ago. The team’s next generation of defensemen has earned their right to play regularly. Keeping Staal on the roster next season would cost the Rangers $5.7M in cap space, in addition to taking a spot away from one of the younger defensemen.
Staal has spent his entire NHL career with the New York Rangers organization since the team drafted him 12th overall in 2005. It’s worth considering that he is also a part of the team’s leadership group.
Staal has sported an “A” on the front of his sweater for the past few seasons. His clearance would make room for a rookie debut next season. But is that worth losing his leadership role on the team?